I was immediately disgusted but very unsurprised. Racism runs a deep history at my high school. Our mascot used to be the “redskins”, blackface photos can be proudly found in 1957 yearbooks, and its location sits in one of the most pretentious areas in the city. During my sophomore year, a fellow classmate of mine was painted in blackface and dressed as rapper, 2 Chainz, but it didn't catch any negative attention at the time. Everyone knows that the frat and sorority which applauds this behavior have existed at my school since before any of us were born and have always bred racist, classist, and obnoxious behavior. The frat and sorority conversations are unavoidable to hear by others students who are typically rich and white. They speak a lot of their hierarchy which goes by “masters” and “wimps”. They host “field parties” which include alcohol, drugs, people, and bonfires on private property. They even have a male and female group message which are they labeled “white power”. How could minority students not be offended by this incident when all of the frat and sorority kids alienate and belittle others each day because of color and socioeconomic status?
Thankfully, the power of social media created an uproar at my multicultural high school. People retweeted, commented, and spoke about it in the halls with outrage. My amazingly intelligent and bold friend Ogechi Anene, was able to catch the attention of media outlets such as The Texas Observer, Houston chronicle, New York Daily News, and Daily mail. Despite the pure anger and frustration felt by the black student body in particular, white students took to Twitter too. For the most part, white students defended the black face issue by saying things such as:
“I paint my face when I go hunting, does that make me racist?”
“I think it's concerning how racism can be created to analyze a situation that wasn't even racist to begin with.”
“Some people are being over sensitive.”
The students involved with the event all claimed to not understand what blackface was as a convenient excuse for their insulting behavior. They received no punishments, because it was done outside of school, and the students most connected to the incident were put into the basement of the school for the entire week for their own “protection”. In spite of all the white privilege students have even after literally mocking colored people, then arrogantly defending it- it was amazing that students on the other side were able to be heard. The #blacklivesmatter movement and social media have made it easier for my generation to take a stand.